Sunday, September 11, 2011

Incubus (1982)

I have a soft spot for the work by director John Hough. With The Legend of Hell House as his big horror masterpiece, minor movies like American Gothic and even Disney’s try on family-horror, The Watcher in the Woods, has been forgotten – at least as works by him. So it was a bit of a surprise when I realized it was Hough who directed Incubus, a Canadian supernatural thriller that I’ve avoiding for years – mostly because I heard it was boring and nothing special. Of course I shouldn’t have listen on all the opinions over the years, so now in 2011 I finally bought the DVD and sat down to watch this trashy piece of horror.

John Cassavetes, in full slumming-mode, is Doctor Sam Cordell. He’s the new doctor in the town of Galen (which means “Crazy” in Swedish by the way…) and has moved there together with his eighteen year old daughter Jenny (Erin Noble). Suddenly a woman is raped in an extremely brutal way and her boyfriend is killed at the same time. The rapes continue, and someone – or something – is more or less destroying the women during the “act”. He/it leaves red-tinted sperm in enormous amounts and soon Sam suspects that it might be something supernatural going on. Jenny’s boyfriend, Tim (Duncan McIntosh) has horrible nightmares and claims to be connected to the killings, maybe even the rapist himself…

Hands down, Incubus is a very sleazy and trashy movie, which makes it even more surprising that John Cassavetes decided to star in it. But an actor of his stature brings also a lot of quality to something that usually would star lesser known people and be less regarded as a serious production. Not that he’s giving everything he’s got. He’s clearly sleepwalking through the part and understands that he’s not really that important for the story. The main character is the murder- and rape-scenes and the unhealthy dose of sleazy atmosphere! Now I make this to sound like something extreme, but it’s not. It’s more the dialogue, the subject itself. I promise you will never hear the word “sperm” as many time as in this movie again, often in the combination with “severely damaged uterus” and other graphic expressions regarding someone who’s been raped to death by a demon. It has some blood, but only one scene with some graphic gore – very nicely done – but once again, nothing extreme. It’s just very violent.

It might be the daring mission to have made a movie that never even tries to be “entertainment” in the 1982 sense of horror entertainment that attracts me with this film. It’s a dark and cynical, a bit pretentious, but well-made and filled with atmosphere. This is very far from the typical eighties horrors, which is a blessing in disguise. If you expect to watch something that fits with beer and popcorn and some drunk friends, this might be the only eighties horror movie you should avoid. If you want to see something more complex, but still sleazy and violent, this is it. The first half is the better part, with better pace and more “fun” and terror. The second part offers a very nice demon-monster, but have a tendency to repeat stuff we already seen or knew since earlier, and it was a couple of time I glanced at my iPhone to check the updates on Facebook. It picks up during the finale and in the end it’s a quite good horror movie, dare I say underrated?

Judge for yourself, buy or rent the movie and give it a try. Let me know what you think about it!

1 comment:

Rich Flannagan said...

I've always avoided this for the same reasons, but now I'm intruiged.